Tree-mendous Planting Achievement For New Outdoor Classroom

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We are delighted to have partnered with the Hampshire Forest Partnership to help it reach its goal of planting 1 million trees before 2050.

A step towards that goal came when 75 trees donated by the Partnership were planted at the Trust.  The trees, in their infant stage, were planted by some young nature enthusiasts visiting us on the day, who joined our team to carefully position them in the ground.

Elliot, Lewis, Harry and Emily each planted a tree which will grow to form a hedgerow along the new John Ellicock Outdoor Classroom.  The hedgerow is made of a mixture of Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Hazel, Elder, Dogwood, Crab Apple and Field Maple.

Our CEO, Penny Smout, said: “It was really important that young people were invited to plant these trees in a space which will hopefully inspire and be used by thousands of pupils and students to learn about the importance of birds of prey and their habitats.  Trees and hedgerows are key to some species as a foraging habitat and for roosting.  We were so delighted that Elliot, Lewis, Harry and Emily each planted a tree and wrote their name on the tree guard.  We hope each of them visit the Trust many times in the future to watch them grow.”

The tree planting is the start of an ongoing partnership between the Hawk Conservancy Trust and the Hampshire Forest Partnership, working together to educate about the important relationship between trees, birds of prey and the wider ecosystem; providing learning resources to educate both in the classroom and around the site at the Trust.

Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, the County Council’s Executive Member for Countryside and Regulatory Services said “the Hampshire Forest Partnership is all about bringing people, organisations and communities together to learn about and enjoy their environment and help us to deliver our target of planting one million trees across the county by 2050. We are delighted to be working with the Hawk Conservancy Trust to help in their efforts to conserve our beautiful birds of prey and plant more trees to support this excellent endeavour”.

The John Ellicock Outdoor Classroom, named in memory of our former Director and long-standing, close supporter of the Trust who sadly passed away in 2022, was also part-funded by the Loddon and Test LEADER Programme and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The outdoor classroom will provide a dedicated venue for schools that come to the Trust for educational visits and workshops. It offers a sheltered hub for students to use as a base for their visit. The engaging space can be used for presentations, workshops, talks, activities and storage. Facilities include AV equipment for presentations, sinks for hand washing, and there is also include a garden area where students can engage with wildlife and interpretation to highlight what can be seen. Equipment such as microscopes will really bring students close to nature.

We are so thrilled to be working with the Hampshire Forest Partnership to plant more trees over the coming decades and help conserve birds of prey. The Hampshire Forest Partnership – coordinated by Hampshire County Council – aims to support residents and organisations to plant more trees to ensure a legacy for future generations to enjoy in line with the County Council’s Tree Strategy which was published in 2020. Find out more about the initiative here.



Allez Cedric!

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National Bird of Prey HospitalTM Manager Cedric Robert is once again lacing up his running shoes and hitting the road in his first attempt at the London Marathon to raise money for the Hawk Conservancy Trust!

Inspired by the incredible effort and support of Bird Team member and Registrar Ryan Stephens, who ran the London Marathon last year and raised nearly £12,000 for the National Bird of Prey HospitalTM, Cedric wanted to do his part to support the Trust.

This time around, Cedric has chosen to raise funds to support the work of our UK Conservation Biologist Matt Stephens, and his hard work on our Raptor Nest Box Project!

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Speaking on his marathon bid, Cedric said:

“Ryan did such an amazing job of running his first ever marathon last year, and raising so much money for the National Bird of Prey HospitalTM at the same time, the area of the Hawk Conservancy Trust that I manage! It’s now only fair I put my running shoes back on and do my part to help another team member at the Trust with the area they look after.  A bit like the relay baton, I suppose!

I am so excited to be taking part in the 2023 London Marathon in April, raising funds for our incredible Raptor Nest Box Project. This project is very close to my heart. Matt (Dr Matt Stevens, UK Conservation Biologist) and I work closely together when wild birds of prey come into our National Bird of Prey HospitalTM. The condition of these sick, orphaned or injured birds can give us an indication of what life is like for wild birds around the country. By understanding how these birds end up coming into our care, we can find out how we can help to conserve them.

I want to run this marathon to help Matt to continue the conservation work of UK species of birds of prey such as Barn Owls, Tawny Owls, Little Owls and Kestrels. This is a project that is really special to me because I treat and work with many of these wild species when they are brought to the hospital. It is especially important for Kestrels and Tawny Owls, who’s UK Conservation status’ are both Amber. I am hoping to raise enough money to fund new equipment for Matt, who spends most of his time out in the field installing, repairing and monitoring over 1000 nest boxes – his dedication is truly inspiring. This equipment will help us learn more about the lives of these birds in the wild, and what we can do to help them.

Each time we successfully rehabilitate and release a bird back into the wild after treatment in our Hospital, I wonder whether they’ll end up using one of our nest boxes to build a family. Wouldn’t that just be incredible?”

Cedric is a seasoned marathon runner, with multiple marathons under his belt. He actually prefers off-road marathons running through the countryside, and has only ever taken part in one road marathon in the past. His fastest time ever for a marathon in the countryside was an outstanding 3 hours and 52 minutes – imagine how fast he might be on London’s tarmacked streets!

If you’d like to support Cedric’s efforts in raising enough money to fund new equipment for our Raptor Nest Box Project, you can make a donation on Cedric’s fundraising page here.


©2023 Hawk Conservancy Trust